If you are withholding payment in case of any billing mistakes, or if you are simply unable to make regular payments on your debts, you may have to end up dealing with a debt collection agency.
There are two types of debt collectors. Many organizations have a collections department, which works as a separate operation, similar to billing, payroll etc. These are relatively easy to deal with, as you can work with them to resolve the issue quickly.
The second kind is harder to deal with. When the company to which you owe a payment decides to bring in an external collector, you need to prepare yourself for the worst. This kind of debt collection can turn into a very stressful experience if it is not handled in the right manner. Here are some tips you can use when you have to deal with a collection agent.
You should have a basic knowledge of the collections process, so that you are not misled by anything the agent says or threatens to do.
In case you have not received any notice of overdue payment in your mail, you can request the collector to send you a formal notice or stop bothering you. In most cases, you will receive a phone call but any discussion you have should be put on paper so that there is evidence for future reference.
No matter what your reasons are for not settling your dues, the collection agent needs to treat you in accordance with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. You should be aware that he has no grounds to treat you in an unfair or abusive manner. If he does not follow the prescribed code of conduct, you can pursue legal proceedings against him.
Maintain a file containing all the information regarding your pending medical bills. This should include all formal communication with both the company and the debt collector.
If you reach a settlement for a different amount than you originally owed, then ask the collection agent to send you a letter mentioning the negotiated amount and any other details of the settlement.
If you were withholding payment because of billing inaccuracies, then make the payment only after you are convinced that the issue has been resolved and the amount you are paying is correct. Do not give in to persistent calls or threats.
Once you have paid in full or the negotiated amount, make sure that any non-payment impact on your credit report is removed.